Christian Advance Helps And Prayers

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Book of the Month

 

Life Together
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

 After his martyrdom at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer continued his witness in the hearts of Christians around the world. In his book Life Together we learn of Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience within Christian community. This story of a unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years reads like one of Paul's letters. It gives practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. Life Together serves as bread to all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship. 

Advance In The Word

 

ADJUSTMENT REQUIRED

When you study the lives of key biblical characters like Isaiah, Moses, the disciples and others you will find that all of them had to make major adjustments in their lives in order to obey and follow what God was asking them to do. Yet, when they made the required adjustments in order to obey God, then God began to move in miraculous ways and began to accomplish His will through them. Had they chosen not to make those adjustments, most likely, you would have never heard of them. 

When we study the word of God we open ourselves up to being called to make major adjustments in our lives. This makes us uncomfortable. When we obey we leave comfortable Christianity behind and soon find out that God's way is well worth the adjustment we had to make.


Messianic Passages and You

Praise the Lord for Messianic passages that describe the character of the Messiah, His purpose, when He will come and much more. In hindsight we look back and connect the Messianic passages to Jesus and how they were and are being fulfilled in Him. Yet, some are recorded as having understood them in foresight and identified Jesus as the promised One.

Now the tragedy is that with all the biblical information in the Old Testament as to who the Messiah would be, and all the religious leaders and common people looking for His arrival, the passages fell short because Jesus was not identified to be the Messiah by the religious leaders nor by most of the common people.

Identifying the Messiah was, indeed, one of the purposes of the Messianic passages. They do point Him out among the crowd of people in history. But the passages also do us a huge favor as Christians. They identify Christlikeness.

· God is omniscient, He knew the Messianic passages wouldn’t be of paramount use in identifying Jesus when He came. Some would understand. Most would not.

· God knew they would be of more help in identifying, giving confidence and strengthening faith in His people after the Spirit came and illuminated eyes and hearts to receive His Son as the promised Messiah.

· And perhaps most valuable are the Messianic passages in describing the character of Christ. The character we are to imitate. The character God makes possible when He fills us with His Holy Spirit.

What is Christ like character? We read it in passages like Isaiah 11 and Jeremiah 23. Then we must ask ourselves, if Jesus is like this and His Spirit lives in me … am I like this? If Jesus is “just” am I just? If Jesus lives right before God, do I? If Jesus exhibits heavenly wisdom, do I model Him in my daily life and choices?

The Messianic chapters seem far more helpful to us who follow Him now, than they did in identifying Jesus before He came. Be transformed into the image of the Son.

  

GOD’S PERFECT JUSTICE

Manasseh and Amon, Manasseh’s son established a season of terror and sin for Judah. This stood in stark contrast to Josiah who follows his Grandfather and father and we are told there was none like Josiah in his wholehearted devotion to the LORD.

Great news, you think. Finally, after five decades of evil a righteous man takes the throne and Judah will be restored and forgiven. Ah, but alas we know that not to be true. After Josiah’s death wrath and judgment follow and the Jews are overtaken by disaster and led into exile.

Why? After finding the Book of the Law, dusting it off and reading it, Josiah repented, tore his garment in anguish over their sin. Where is the grace of God in all this? Keep in mind what he heard was the unrelenting justice of God that would not look the other way when His children lived in sin. Keep in mind, knowing that God would not relent from the punishment He promised, Josiah lived a righteous life anyway! 

To make a long story short. Josiah repented. Josiah was cut to the heart and grieved over the sin that had been committed. Josiah consecrated his life to live wholeheartedly for the LORD. The people went along with it as long as Josiah was King but never bought into it. Their hearts were divided. Their hearts were made of stone. Their hearts where determined not to surrender to God and God alone. They entered into the covenant but their hearts were never His.

Josiah made a U-turn but the people did not. As soon as his reign ended, they went right back to the trough of pagan living. God is just. He punishes sin. The people did not repent. As a result, they were punished for their sin as God’s word had promised. God does not extend grace to those who will not repent. God is just. (See 2 Kings 22:11-23:3) 




Advance In Biblical Discipleship

  

POOR IN SPIRIT - WHAT JESUS TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES 

We need not wonder what Jesus meant by the term “disciple”. He spent much of His life on earth defining that very term through words and actions. His disciples heard, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This is a clear description of the spiritual perspective a disciple of Jesus is to possess. The daily walk of our life is to be one of bowing in immeasurable thankfulness, inexpressible gratefulness and total dependence on their LORD. We are beggars who seek the counsel of the LORD for all things because we properly see ourselves as spiritually destitute. As a follower of Jesus, He truly is our all-in-all.

This initially seems completely foreign to the American Christian who has all she needs physically and whose culture has not taught her to think spiritually. The level of humility Jesus calls for in Matthew 5 is strange, if not shocking, to most citizens of developed nations with a high standard of living. This strange standard of discipleship means to live in this world destitute of wealth, influence, position or honor. If Jesus provides it, give Him praise. He may or He may not. Remember He is shaping you into His likeness and knows the best path for you to take. 

Teach your disciple to have a spiritual worldview taught by Jesus. This means seeing oneself in complete and total dependence upon Jesus due to being spiritually destitute and bankrupted without Him. Inner joy, peace and happiness is the result. This attitude of owing Jesus all, brings genuine joy and promises, that if found, will be forever. 

 

DISCIPLE MAKING MOVEMENTS: SIGNS

Winfield Bevins of Seedbed wrote an article on Six Marks of the Wesleyan Movement.  He highlights marks of the multiplication movement in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

· Changed Lives. People came to Christ and were transformed in the process. That process not only changed them but the world around them.

· Contagious Faith. Ordinary folks came to Jesus and shared their faith with others. It was contagious and they couldn’t help but witness to the wonderful work God had done in their lives. They shared it with all who would listen.

· Holy Spirit. Those coming to Christ in record numbers heard and understood the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and the lives of all Christ followers. A partnership was embraced between them, the Spirit and the Word, as the guide for their lives and the banner of their existence.

· Discipleship Systems. Systems were developed to invest in all the people coming into the Kingdom. They were taught foundational principles and called to holiness of heart and life. Each was expected to be a member of a small accountability group for encouragement and growth. It was a rediscovery of the first century practice of life on life discipleship.

· Apostolic Leadership. This was no “sit and soak” crowd. This was a movement of God in the lay people. They were ministers to a lost world. They lived a missional lifestyle. As a result, new and more leadership developed. It was disciples making disciples who made disciples.

· Organic Multiplication. This was an outward focused phenomenon. It was the natural result of Holy Spirit empowered Christians moving beyond the established church box. They were innovative, they were passionate, they were empowered, they were obedient to the leading of a creative Lord seeking the lost. This was a movement of God.

If you are making disciples and feel less than enthused, keep in mind that God has acted in history and launched disciple making movements in the past. Be open to the fact that He can do it again. It is happening in many parts of the world. It can happen where you are. Go make disciples!





Christian Advance Prayer

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Prayer to be others focused

Gracious Holy Spirit, so much of my life seems to revolve around my interests and my welfare.  I would like to live just one day in which everything I did benefited someone besides myself.  Perhaps prayer for others is a starting point.  Help me to do so without any need for praise or reward.  In Jesus name. - Amen.

Richard Foster

Christian Advance Prayer

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Howard Thurman

Open unto me - light for my darkness.
Open unto me - courage for my fear.
Open unto me - hope for my despair.
Open unto me - peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me - joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me - strength for my weakness.
Open unto me - wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me - forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me - tenderness for my toughness.
Open unto me - love for my hates.
Open unto me - Thy Self for my self.


Lord, Lord, open unto me!
Amen.

Christian Advance Prayer

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Samuel Logan Brengle

 Keep me, O Lord, from waxing mentally and spiritually dull and stupid. Help me to keep the physical, mental and spiritual fibre of the athlete, of the man who denies himself daily and takes up his cross and follows Thee. Give me good success in my work, but hide pride from me. Save me from the complacency that so frequently accompanies success and prosperity. Save me from the spirit of sloth, of self-indulgence, as physical infirmities and decay creep upon me. 

Christian Advance Prayer

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Billy Graham

" Have you ever said, 'Well, all we can do now is pray?' ... When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God."


Christian Advance Prayer

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George Muller

 "Let no one profess to trust in God, and yet lay up for future wants, otherwise the Lord will first send him to the hoard he has amassed, before He can answer the prayer for more."  

Christian Advance Prayer

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Karl Barth

To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.

Christian Advance Prayer

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John Wesley's Prayer of Surrender

 

O merciful God,
whatever You may deny me,
do not deny me this love.

Save me from the idolatry of loving the world,
or any of the things of the world.

Let me never love any creature
but for Your sake and in subordination to Your love.

Take full possession of my heart;
raise there Your throne
and command there as You do in heaven.

Being created by You, let me live to You;
being created for You,
let me ever act for Your glory;
being redeemed by You,
let me render to You what is Yours
and let my spirit ever cleave to You alone.

Christian Advance Prayer

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Awake O Sleeper

 Awake, O sleeper, arise from death,
abandon the shadows of night;
the wind of the spirit shall be your breath,
and Christ will fill you with light.

Once you were darkness,
once you were lost in the shadows.
Once you were darkness,
now you are children of light.

Awake, O sleeper, arise from death,
abandon the shadows of night;
the wind of the spirit shall be your breath,
and Christ will fill you with light.

Live as God's people,
live as God's justice and mercy,
filled with compassion,
filled with the power of love.

Awake, O sleeper, arise from death,
abandon the shadows of night;
the wind of the spirit shall be your breath,
and Christ will fill you with light.

Shine out with the splendour of love,
shine with justice and righteousness.
Sing the music your spirit has heard,
the songs of glory and light. 

Christian Advance Prayer

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St. Augustine

 Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen. 

Christian Advance Prayer

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Thomas Merton

 My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that
I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am
actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. 

Christian Advance Prayer

St. Ignatius Prayer Of Surrender

Take, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will.

You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to Your Divine will.

You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to Your Divine will.

Give me only Your love and Your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.

Amen.

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Christian Advance Prayer

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A Prayer For Holiness

Articles / Prayers / Devotion
 

Dear heavenly Father, You are a holy God and I desire to be holy too.. set apart unto You, and living my life in a manner that is worthy of You and pleasing to You.

Search my heart I pray, and if there is any cherished sin lurking within, I ask that You would root it out, for I know that only the one that has clean hand and a pure heart may stand in Your presence.

Purify my heart, cleanse my inner thoughts and examine the very motives behind my acts and attitude, for I desire to live in holiness of heart - and if there is anything that is displeasing to You in my life.. I ask that in Your grace You would root it out, so that I may live in godly holiness all the days of my life, clothed in Christ’s righteousness.. separated unto You and walking in godly love – this I ask in Jesus name, Amen.

Christian Advance Prayer

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A Prayer For Rest

"Blessed Savior, I am not good at resting in the hollow of your hand. Nothing in my experience has taught me this resting. I have been taught how to take charge. I have been taught how to be in control. But how to rest? No, I have no models, no paradigms for resting.
That is not exactly right. Jesus, when you walked among the Jerusalem crowds and in the Judean hills, you pioneered this way of living. You were always alert and alive. You lived utterly responsive to the will of the Father.  Manifold demands were placed upon you, and still you worked in unhurried peace and power.
Help me to walk in your steps. Teach me to see only what you see, to say only what you say, to do only what you do. Help me, Lord, to work resting and to pray resting.
I ask this in your good and strong name.
Amen."   Jean Vanier